Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Weekly Q&A Time! Heatwave Edition

image credit www.01post.com

Looks like most of us in the USA are using fans and air conditioners this week.
Resist the temptation to think it's too hot to pray the hours. Just do what I do and pout a tall glass of ice tea to sip with your psalms.

Any questions about the Divine Office this week? Fire away.


  1. I am thankful that my friend referred me to Carrier hvac after my air conditioner completely broke a few days ago. This heat is just too much!

  2. I tried to myself to get up earlier than the sun so I could enjoy my prayers on the veranda before it got hot. Gave it up when I discovered that sunrise in July in Tokyo is around 4:40 a.m....

    I have a question, which has gotten a lot of opinions on the various forums but no definite answer. I understand that we who pray in English must use whichever English version of the breviary has been approved by the local Bishops conference, but what about non-English speaking countries where no English version has been approved? Is there freedom to use any approved English edition in such a case?

  3. Follow-up to Russell's question (and yes, this is a newbie Q): Does that mean that I (an American) must use the version approved in another English-speaking country if I'm travelling there or if I'm there for an extended period, even if the version approved by *my* Bishop is a different one?

    1. These are tricky questions and I don't seem to see anything in the General Instruction that addresses it. I'm sure I've read somewhere (and it makes sense) that those living in a foreign country are permitted to use either the locally approved version OR the breviary from their own country. As to using a different English version while living in Japan, Russ, I guess I would not do that if I were concerned to be praying liturgically in union with the Church, unless I found hard, documentary evidence that this was okay. However,I'll venture out on one limb. Suppose your local community of English-speaking Catholics in Tokyo were mostly Brits or Aussies, using the Harper Collins Divine Office? I think that would be a legitimate pastoral reason for making the switch.

      Another option wherever you live is to use the Roman edition and pray in Latin, if you have that ability.

      Drenze, your question is easier. Even if the foreign country in question speaks English, you have the option of either adopting the local approved version, or using the one from the USA.

      All this being said, I myself am skating on thin ice by frequently using the 2009 African breviary. I justify it because the psalms that it uses(Revised Grail) are already approved for liturgical use in the USA, the scripture readings are the same version we have, and the rest is the same ICEL material that is in the USA breviary. The only thing that does not match is the Sunday antiphons for the gospel canticles, since Africa uses the expanded year A,B and C options for these as appears in the official Vatican version. It is pretty much what our breviary will look like in 5 to 10 years after our bishops are done revising it.

      If I eventually come across any official documents about all this, I'll get back to you both with a blog post.

  4. Thank you for the Everyday Catholic's Guide. The clue is in the title. I started with LOTH at the beginning of the year and found myself having a bit of a panic about everything after Easter. I really wasn't sure I was "doing it right". My Benedictine friends and my priest priest didn't understand. I think they had been taught LOTH as a communal practice and din't appreciate the difficulties faced when starting out as an individual. Your book was an answer to prayer. I am now much more relaxed about doing things to suit me - as an everyday Catholic.

    1. Thank you for letting me know! This is why I wrote the book, and I love to hear stuff like this from all the everyday Catholics out there.

  5. So here's my question: I am trying to make sense of the sequence of readings. Today I read Morning Prayer - a bit of St Paul, Mass has the Passover, the Office of Readings has Jehoshaphat and Evening Prayer has a bit of James. It feels a bit of a jumble. I can see that each one continues on from yesterday so we are working through Moses' story at Mass and have just had a series about David. Is there also a link through the readings during the day? In the same way that the antiphons link one part of the day to another by often repeating key phrases.

    1. I don't think the readings of ordinary time have the same conncection to each other within the Liturgy of the Hours, or to the readings of the mass, as they do during the seasons of advent, lent, Easter, etc.

      During ordinary time we are simply immersed in the psalter, which simply repeates itself every 4 weeks. That being said, you will certainly notice that on Fridays, everything except the two readings in the Office of Readings is very much connected--its all about sin, repentance, the death of Jesus, and our own sufferings in union with Christ's. With that in mind I think the short morning and evening readings go together well with everything else.
      As for the Office of Readings vs. those at Mass--yes, we are working through Exodus at mass, and through the history of the Kings of israel--not just David but the whole dynasty of David, the split into the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. So I guess the only connection is we are getting lots of Bible history these days. Next week we'll do St. Paul for a two weeks, then it's going to be prophets minor and major for a good many weeks.
      I've never seen the reasoning for the schema of the readings in ordinary time, so I just take them for what they're worth. My main feeling is that the holy seasons are more about the mysteries of the incarnation and redemption, and ordinary time about Everything Else!

    2. Thanks. I will be happy to just enjoy the richness of the readings and not worry about finding any pattern to them. I am in England using Universalis. We have the extra delight of the wonderful English saints. So often they are obscure Anglo-Saxons or amazing martyrs -today is another poor Jesuit killed in the 17th century just for being a priest -St John Plessington. Their lives are so interesting and inspiring. I have a dose of Saint of the Day with Morning Prayer in the car park before walking into the office! It is 2200hrs here so it's Compline for me while you do your Evening Prayer. Good night!

    3. Ah! I knew you were English. Certain word choices--like "a bit of a jumble" gave it away.
      Yes, I love the Anglo-Saxon names. It would make a nice parlor game just taking turns guessing at the pronunciation of some of them. Aelfflaed. Domnanuerdh. Wulfsige.
      And the Elizabethan martrys! Just love them. St.Margaret Clitherow is a favorite. And those valiant Jesuits! I just hope that when persecution starts up again someday they don't go back to drawing and quartering.

  6. Daria, I cam across a Mundelien Psalter the other day and was wondering if you could tell me what the difference between this and the Hours is?
    Here is the link with the description: http://www.monasterygreetings.com/product/Mundelein_Psalter_hardcover_book/Liturgy_of_the_Hours_and_Divine_Office

    Is it the same? Thanks.


  7. Paul, I like the Mundelein Psalter very much and have written about it several times:
    Mundelein is a one volume breviary that contains only morning, evening, and night prayer. What makes it special is that it alone of all English language breviary contains the official Roman breviary hymn in both Latin and English, AND contains simply chant tones above every single psalm and canticle. So if you are interested in the idea of chanting the principle hours of the day, the Mundelen psalter makes it easy. They even have a support website that has audio files of the chants and hymns, so if you are not great at reading music, you can learn by listening.